Pittsburgh Penguins appeared to edit masks onto their fans in a photo to hide COVID-19 safety violations

Meredith Cash
·3 min read
penguins fans maskless
The Pittsburgh Penguins have reintroduced fans to PPG Paints Arena, but spectators have not been on top of COVID-19 health and safety protocols. Jeanine Leech/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
  • The Pittsburgh Penguins have reintroduced fans to PPG Paints Arena.

  • Some people in the crowd have not been on top of COVID-19 health and safety protocols.

  • The team appears to have edited masks onto fans in a photo that originally showed a number of maskless spectators.

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

Pittsburgh Penguins fans are back in the building at PPG Paints Arena.

But not all of them are taking COVID-19 health and safety protocols as seriously as mandated - or as seriously as medical experts recommend.

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Can you find the COVID-19 health and safety protocol violations? Justin K. Aller/NHLI via Getty Images

The franchise appears to have gotten caught editing masks onto fans in a photo of the crowd Tuesday night. The original photo - taken by photographer Jeanine Leech for Getty Images - showed a number of fans going maskless or not properly wearing their masks among the socially-distanced spectators in the stands for the Penguins' 5-2 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers.

On Wednesday, Pittsburgh's communications staff shared that photo on social media - albeit with a few changes. In addition to including some fun doodles and a quote from head coach Mike Sullivan in which he lauds the fanbase, the graphics department extended masks over the noses of three fans who were not properly wearing their masks in Leech's original photo. They also cropped out the head of another fan who appeared to be completely maskless.

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DK Pittsburgh Sports Penguins reporter Taylor Haase took to Twitter to point out the discrepancy between the original photo and the one the franchise shared. She also noted that health and safety violations ran rampant in the arena, so there likely weren't many, if any, photos that did not depict some kind of COVID-19 hazard.

Fans flooded the replies section of the Penguins' edited post to ask the obvious question: why edit a photo to depict fans properly adhering to pandemic safety protocols rather than just enforcing those protocols at PPG Paints Arena?

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"We are excited to have our fans back to PPG Paints Arena, and following the advice of medical professionals, we are taking all precautions to enforce the use of masks to keep our fans safe," a representative for the Penguins told Insider. "We have adopted a zero-tolerance policy, and our arena staff have roving teams to enforce during home games."

"While perhaps well intended, our staffer should not have altered a wide crowd photo to adjust masks on faces of even a few fans who were not strictly following the rules," they added. "Our social media team should never send out altered photos to our fan base. This is a violation of our social media and safety policy, and this staffer has been disciplined."

Read the original article on Insider